Wanted: Photos of April (meteor) showers this weekend

Melody Ng
Analyst
Public Insight Network
Lyrid meteor streaking over earth

A Lyrid meteor streaking over Earth as viewed by astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station, April 22, 2012. Also visible are the lights of Florida (to the right of the meteor), Cuba, the Florida Keys and the eastern Gulf Coast shoreline as well as some flashes of lightning. (Photo by NASA | JSC | Don Pettit)

You may not be able to photograph this weekend’s Lyrid meteor shower from outer space, like astronaut Don Pettit did from the International Space Station last April.

But, you CAN capture them where you live — and share your photo with us!

As part of our focus on Mars and space exploration this spring, we recently hosted an online clinic about how to photograph the night sky.

We’re hoping people will use their night photography skills — whether newly acquired (some tips here) or well honed — to take pictures of the Lyrid meteor shower this weekend.

Every year, between about April 16 and 26, the earth’s orbit takes it through a field of debris — bits of dust and ice — that trailed off Comet Thatcher sometime in the past. (Thatcher circles the sun once every 415 years.) These particles, from the size of grains of sand to small pebbles, hit our atmosphere at 110,000 mph, and burn up. They produce the bright light we see as Lyrid meteors.  (Learn more about the Lyrids from NASA here.)

The Lyrids peak this Sunday night to Monday morning (April 21-22).  And the best viewing time is just before dawn on Monday, after the moon has set.  Look to the northeast if you’re in North America.

We’d like to post a gallery of photos from you and others on our website.

So, head out with your camera this weekend and take some photos — Then, share your photo with us here.

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Melody Ng Analyst
Public Insight Network

As a Public Insight analyst, Melody Ng's job is all about finding out what people know, and then putting their experience and expertise to work making great news stories. She's particularly interested in getting diverse perspectives and voices into the news. So if you don’t hear people who think or sound like you in the news, then: Tell us what you know here. And come on into our newsroom!

Melody got into journalism through an internship with documentary unit American RadioWorks when looking for a different way to use the skills she had learned through doing science.